Flesh Pawns by Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Sundown Reader #525, 1964)

Like Gutter Road, there’s a sexual blackmail con scheme at the center of this little crime noir softcore.

Charley is grifter making his way from New York to Florida for the winter, to pull some jobs.  In a Delaware roadhouse, he spots waitress Janey and knows she has what he needs: she can look fifteen or twenty-five with her looks, lack of make-up or too much make-up…

He picks Janey up in his smooth way, beds her, invites her to come with him Miami.  She has nothing better to do, so why not.

Charley tells her his con game: she dresses up nice, hangs out in hotel bars, acting like a sweet young lady who likes older men, men with money. She does not charge them, she is not hooking.  The men have a great time with a hot young number. The next day, Charley shows up to the mark’s hotel room and Janey is wearing bobby sox, pony tail and no-make up, looking like jailbait. Charley acts like the appalled older brother whose kid sister was seduced; he then says he will go to the cops unless the men pay up, say $500-1000.

Janey thinks it’s a good grift.  She’s hooked before so she’s no stranger to crime.  They make some money in Miami and all is well for the two crooks, but eventually they meet other people who lead them astray — Janey a more suave guy and future real romance, Charley two teen vixens who lead him to a bigger gutter road.

Not the best of the Don Elliotts, but even these lesser titles are often better reads than 75% of the sleaze published back then and even now.

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